Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 Hide
50 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Scythe» Forums » Variants

Subject: The more we play, the bigger difference turn order makes, What can be done? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
seth van orden
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm not sure others are affected by this, but I'm guessing others will be. It's not too uncommon for an engine building game like scythe where efficiency matters for turn order to make a bigger difference the more you play and the better you get.

During your first couple games, I'm guessing if you are like us the amount of turns it takes the players to finish the game (6 stars, or just a high score in general) is pretty varied between the players. The "leading" players maybe 3-8 turns ahead of the others. (in terms of efficiency)

After several more games the leading player's lead has drastically dropped to 1-2 turns if not 0 turns. Many of the last several games for us the winner would have lost or at least been really close to losing if everyone would have had the same number of turns. Often those last turns can be the difference of 20-30 points. Considering our winning scores are usually between 70-100, this can be quite costly to not get a third of your points because you were later in the turn order.

I don't want this to seem like I'm ragging on the balance of Scythe, because I'm not. I really like scythe. It wouldn't be reasonable to expect any game to be balanced like this for all skill levels. Many players in my group are starting to get less excited about it, because they feel player order is starting to make too much of a difference. I do believe the player order "problem" is bigger because not everyone will get the same number of turns.

Here's our groups proposed variant, but I'd like thoughts on it before we try it.

Once the game is ended. (someone gets their 6 star) We still play until the end of the round (everyone gets the same number of turns) but with one special rule. Those that play their last turns after the 6th star cannot take territories from others. They can still take the move action, but they can't take territories from others. In theory this seems to still give a hefty advantage to the player that ends the game, but still allows everyone the same number of turns.

Thoughts? Other Ideas?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamey Stegmaier
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Seth: Thanks for the variant idea. I'm glad you identified that it's important for players to not be able to continue to claim territories (i.e., they can't move) if they are allowed to continue to take another turn after a player has placed their 6th star. Otherwise it takes a lot of impetus away from the player who is trying to end the game with their final move.

That said, I should note that the starting items on each player mat are staggered, partially to make up for first-player advantage. So the game already has something built in to address this issue.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Forsman
United States
Ely
Minnesota
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
yikes... this really hurts the idea of sinking in and getting 3 stars the last turn... or helping those last few rounds of going for combat to get your stars.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Derr
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
badge
Get off my Avatar NERD!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You can't allow people to gain new territories with farmers only using this variant. It's not fair for the player right behind the player who placed all 6 stars have the chance to move up to 3 characters and gain up to 6 new territories with zero threat of losing territory. Theoretically, if a player had 3 territories each with a mech and 2 farmers then they could leave a farmer behind on each hex, move the mech one space and drop a farmer, then move the mech to another hex. That's a swing of 6 territories and you could potentially be locking another player in from expanding.

Additionally, I don't agree with you about the turn order. It's been fairly dispersed from first to last for me. I will say I only have 10 plays, so the sample size is not huge. Battles seem to really help disrupt the efficiency issue. If it seems someone is getting an efficient engine, other players would disrupt them through attacks and more aggressive game play.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Brown
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jameystegmaier wrote:
Seth: Thanks for the variant idea. I'm glad you identified that it's important for players to not be able to continue to claim territories (i.e., they can't move) if they are allowed to continue to take another turn after a player has placed their 6th star. Otherwise it takes a lot of impetus away from the player who is trying to end the game with their final move.

That said, I should note that the starting items on each player mat are staggered, partially to make up for first-player advantage. So the game already has something built in to address this issue.

I agree, our group hasn't found any need for house rules after multiple plays. Planning the end game is a key strategy. It's cool when you can plan your end move and get 2 or 3 stars at once just before someone can take the factory or build their 4th structure or produce their last worker. Neither turn order nor faction/player mat combo order have made a difference in the winners. This game more than any other I've played, leaves it completely in the hands of the players.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
seth van orden
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
rderr27 wrote:
You can't allow people to gain new territories with farmers only using this variant. It's not fair for the player right behind the player who placed all 6 stars have the chance to move up to 3 characters and gain up to 6 new territories with zero threat of losing territory. Theoretically, if a player had 3 territories each with a mech and 2 farmers then they could leave a farmer behind on each hex, move the mech one space and drop a farmer, then move the mech to another hex. That's a swing of 6 territories and you could potentially be locking another player in from expanding.

Additionally, I don't agree with you about the turn order. It's been fairly dispersed from first to last for me. I will say I only have 10 plays, so the sample size is not huge. Battles seem to really help disrupt the efficiency issue. If it seems someone is getting an efficient engine, other players would disrupt them through attacks and more aggressive game play.


You are probably right with the grabbing territories with the farmers thing. I'm still not sure I feel it would be as bad in practice as it seems in theory.

Also our group battles less and less each game, and usually only the last turn or so. Last game we only had one fight, it was the on the last turn.

I'm also with you on the sample size thing, but that's how our games have played out so far. If I'm going to get a bigger sample size, I've got to convince those that feel player order matters too much, that we should play more.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Stearns
United States
Houston
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Or have your group try being more aggressive. If players are allowed to run their efficient engine unimpeded then you are kind of getting what you ask for. It also becomes more of a multi-player solo game. The combat in the game is there for a reason. I'm not saying you attack every turn like a war game, but definitely use combat to interrupt and frustrate others plans. Just the mental pause that the threat of attack can cause can be effective.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mfl134
United States
Havertown
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
My words literally betray me.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jameystegmaier wrote:

That said, I should note that the starting items on each player mat are staggered, partially to make up for first-player advantage. So the game already has something built in to address this issue.


this only addresses player 1, not the rest of the players though. right?
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mfl134
United States
Havertown
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
My words literally betray me.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
gohrns wrote:
Or have your group try being more aggressive. If players are allowed to run their efficient engine unimpeded then you are kind of getting what you ask for. It also becomes more of a multi-player solo game. The combat in the game is there for a reason. I'm not saying you attack every turn like a war game, but definitely use combat to interrupt and frustrate others plans. Just the mental pause that the threat of attack can cause can be effective.



and specifically, try targeted aggression towards those earlier in the turn order.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aaron Silverman
United States
Halfway between Castro and Mickey Mouse
Florida (FL)
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I haven't played enough yet to have a well-formed opinion about this, but a minor tweak would be to distribute the player mats in numerical order. (i.e., deal them out to see who gets #1, then redistribute the others clockwise so the farther along you are in the turn order, the better your starting mat position.)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Larry Haskell
United States
Springfield
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

How are you measuring at this "3-8 turn" efficiency lead? Can you provide an example where the first player has a clear advantage after the first two turns?

I'm having a hard time seeing how going first conveys significant advantage in Scythe. The first player can't block other players' actions with his opening moves as with many worker placement games. At most I can see that, several turns in, the first player would have a one turn advantage to race for a valuable territory, but as much of the early analysis has suggested, faction selection has a significant impact on that race.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mitch Willis
United States
Kathleen
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Only played a couple of times but we're not seeing it yet...in both games the player who got to 6 stars first did not win...and the winning player was 3rd (of 5) in one game and last (of 4) in the other...and both games ended before the winner got to take a last turn (those earlier in the turn order ended it before the ultimate winner got to take his turn)...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Milo Gertjejansen
United States
Hopkins
Minnesota
flag msg tools
~ >
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
gamedog wrote:

How are you measuring at this "3-8 turn" efficiency lead? Can you provide an example where the first player has a clear advantage after the first two turns?


While I don't necessarily agree with him, I think he meant the player in the lead, not the first player.

As an example, if the Player one took a top and bottom row action and then Players 2 and 3 took only top row actions, Player 1 would be a half turn ahead of the other players. I think that would actually be a pretty interesting thing to quantify. And relatively easy too.

Of course, that doesn't account for making the correct decisions in terms of actions. For instance, if Player 3 from above took a produce action when he probably should have traded, he could be considered a full turn behind Player 1.

Just spit balling at this point, but I suppose this would only work with players who are all the same skill level but it would be especially effective if the players were all highly skilled.

Seems like some interesting data could be had from that maybe.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg
United States
Lowell
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Other considerations as far as turn efficiency is whether a player goes for an objective that may cost them an extra turn or 2 but get them a star.

Or if someone races to the factory and not being ultra efficient in doing so, and to make matters worse, they may not even utilize the factory card much because they fell behind in other areas.

So I agree that it seems difficult to quantify turns ahead or behind.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Larry Haskell
United States
Springfield
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
miloshot wrote:
gamedog wrote:

How are you measuring at this "3-8 turn" efficiency lead? Can you provide an example where the first player has a clear advantage after the first two turns?


While I don't necessarily agree with him, I think he meant the player in the lead, not the first player.

As an example, if the Player one took a top and bottom row action and then Players 2 and 3 took only top row actions, Player 1 would be a half turn ahead of the other players. I think that would actually be a pretty interesting thing to quantify. And relatively easy too.

Of course, that doesn't account for making the correct decisions in terms of actions. For instance, if Player 3 from above took a produce action when he probably should have traded, he could be considered a full turn behind Player 1.

Just spit balling at this point, but I suppose this would only work with players who are all the same skill level but it would be especially effective if the players were all highly skilled.

Seems like some interesting data could be had from that maybe.


Ahh! After re-reading that, I think you are right. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I was interpreting "player order" as "first player advantage". My mistake.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
seth van orden
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mfl134 wrote:
jameystegmaier wrote:

That said, I should note that the starting items on each player mat are staggered, partially to make up for first-player advantage. So the game already has something built in to address this issue.


this only addresses player 1, not the rest of the players though. right?


I do agree with this. If the first player with board one is followed by the player with board 5 followed by other board numbers, then in theory they would be purposely out of balanced. All things considered as the differences between the player boards to compensate for player order are only minor as suggested by the rules. I believe these are a good balancing choice when you are just starting to play, but as players become more efficient wouldn’t that bonus need to scale to compensate?

miloshot wrote:
gamedog wrote:

How are you measuring at this "3-8 turn" efficiency lead? Can you provide an example where the first player has a clear advantage after the first two turns?


While I don't necessarily agree with him, I think he meant the player in the lead, not the first player.

As an example, if the Player one took a top and bottom row action and then Players 2 and 3 took only top row actions, Player 1 would be a half turn ahead of the other players. I think that would actually be a pretty interesting thing to quantify. And relatively easy too.

Of course, that doesn't account for making the correct decisions in terms of actions. For instance, if Player 3 from above took a produce action when he probably should have traded, he could be considered a full turn behind Player 1.

Just spit balling at this point, but I suppose this would only work with players who are all the same skill level but it would be especially effective if the players were all highly skilled.

Seems like some interesting data could be had from that maybe.

You are correct, I meant the player that is playing more efficiently.

As for just attacking the more efficient player or the players earlier in turn order, I’m not sure this is a great solution. I’m ok with the fact that attacking isn’t the biggest part of Scythe, but I’m not sure attacking is always the most efficient way to gain points. (it can be, but I believe in many cases it isn’t) Many times attacking hurts your efficiency. So attack the 1 first player may hurt him, but it may just make it easier of the second player to win, as both you and the player you attacked just become less efficient.

DJ Kuul A wrote:
I haven't played enough yet to have a well-formed opinion about this, but a minor tweak would be to distribute the player mats in numerical order. (i.e., deal them out to see who gets #1, then redistribute the others clockwise so the farther along you are in the turn order, the better your starting mat position.)


This seems like it would help, but it would also cut down on the reply value, since there would be a lot less variability in set up.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg
United States
Lowell
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sethvanorden wrote:


As for just attacking the more efficient player or the players earlier in turn order, I’m not sure this is a great solution. I’m ok with the fact that attacking isn’t the biggest part of Scythe, but I’m not sure attacking is always the most efficient way to gain points. (it can be, but I believe in many cases it isn’t) Many times attacking hurts your efficiency. So attack the 1 first player may hurt him, but it may just make it easier of the second player to win, as both you and the player you attacked just become less efficient.



So is your "all other players get a final turn after the 6th star is placed" variant meant as a catch up mechanism?

What happens if this makes it so the player placing the 6th star never or very seldom wins? With the rules as they are now, placing the 6th star doesn't mean you win, so if the other players get a final turn, that would make it even more so that the 6th star player wouldn't win.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew Peckham
England
Dorking
Surrey
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
DJ Kuul A wrote:
I haven't played enough yet to have a well-formed opinion about this, but a minor tweak would be to distribute the player mats in numerical order. (i.e., deal them out to see who gets #1, then redistribute the others clockwise so the farther along you are in the turn order, the better your starting mat position.)


Or just play your turns in numerical order, as opposed to purely clockwise.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
seth van orden
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hahma wrote:
sethvanorden wrote:


As for just attacking the more efficient player or the players earlier in turn order, I’m not sure this is a great solution. I’m ok with the fact that attacking isn’t the biggest part of Scythe, but I’m not sure attacking is always the most efficient way to gain points. (it can be, but I believe in many cases it isn’t) Many times attacking hurts your efficiency. So attack the 1 first player may hurt him, but it may just make it easier of the second player to win, as both you and the player you attacked just become less efficient.



So is your "all other players get a final turn after the 6th star is placed" variant meant as a catch up mechanism?

What happens if this makes it so the player placing the 6th star never or very seldom wins? With the rules as they are now, placing the 6th star doesn't mean you win, so if the other players get a final turn, that would make it even more so that the 6th star player wouldn't win.


So far for us the player placing the 6th star has always won, but I don't believe that would always be the case.

You are right that if this variant causes the player who placed the 6th star to rarely win, that would be bad too. Ideally you'd find some sort of balance. My guess is with this variant the player who placed their last star would probably still win more times then not.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
seth van orden
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
velvetvoulge wrote:
DJ Kuul A wrote:
I haven't played enough yet to have a well-formed opinion about this, but a minor tweak would be to distribute the player mats in numerical order. (i.e., deal them out to see who gets #1, then redistribute the others clockwise so the farther along you are in the turn order, the better your starting mat position.)


Or just play your turns in numerical order, as opposed to purely clockwise.


True, but I'm not sure I'd like how that might disrupt the flow. recently we've been crushing a 4 player game out in an hour to an hour and a half. I can only imagine that might slow things down.

Plus that might make things weird for who's your neighbor for recruits. Is it your neighbor in turn order or in sitting order? If just in turn order, does that effect the balance adversely? not sure?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Klaus Kristiansen
Denmark
Kongens Lyngby
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
If this is really a problem, a less game changing way of remedying it would be to adjust the starting assets. Choose any of the player mats, and give every player the assets specified on that. Then give each player 1$ for every player ahead of them in player order. If that is not enough, try a popularity, or 2$, or whatever works. That way the game is not significantly changed.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Florian Ruckeisen
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm curious, Seth: How many plays did it take until your group felt that this was a problem?

As to how to solve it, my gut instinct says that your solution of "finish the final round (no taking territories)" disincentivizes ending the game when you have the chance. For one, the players "behind" you (who stand a decent chance of having had a head start on you to begin with due to higher-numbered player mat) get a final turn to "catch up" during which they don't need to fear any attacks.

Two, the restriction of "but they can't take any more territories on their last turn" may well effectively have applied to YOUR last turn as well, unless you finished the game with a Move or the corresponding bottom-row action.

I tend to agree with ghorns in that it may have more to do with your group's "meta". When combat becomes a tangible threat, that throws a wrench into the point-efficiency of streamlined "builds".

Even if I don't yet feel it's really an issue (hence my question of how many plays it took you to feel otherwise), I can somewhat understand that people dislike the "unfair" player mat order of 1-5-4-3-2. For that, I'd recommend variants using strictly ascending player mat order or mat drafting.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lewis Clark
msg tools
mbmbmb
Bid a number of points at the start of the game to determine player order. I know the game has a built in way of dealing with this, but in your group if it is becoming an issue amongst equally experienced players then this should make a difference.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
seth van orden
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Snapshot wrote:
I'm curious, Seth: How many plays did it take until your group felt that this was a problem?

As to how to solve it, my gut instinct says that your solution of "finish the final round (no taking territories)" disincentivizes ending the game when you have the chance. For one, the players "behind" you (who stand a decent chance of having had a head start on you to begin with due to higher-numbered player mat) get a final turn to "catch up" during which they don't need to fear any attacks.

Two, the restriction of "but they can't take any more territories on their last turn" may well effectively have applied to YOUR last turn as well, unless you finished the game with a Move or the corresponding bottom-row action.

I tend to agree with ghorns in that it may have more to do with your group's "meta". When combat becomes a tangible threat, that throws a wrench into the point-efficiency of streamlined "builds".

Even if I don't yet feel it's really an issue (hence my question of how many plays it took you to feel otherwise), I can somewhat understand that people dislike the "unfair" player mat order of 1-5-4-3-2. For that, I'd recommend variants using strictly ascending player mat order or mat drafting.


Good thoughts.

I will say, as is, the finishing player already has no fear of being attack, so I'm not sure extending that benefit to the remaining players is that game breaking, it may just be evening the playing field.

As for when did our group start feeling this was a problem. First game no comments or mention about it. After the second game the first player won, but others would have had big turns 20-30 point turn if they'd have one more turn. This is where the question was asked, but no one was angry yet because we'd only played twice. The next 4 games, first player won 3 and the second player won once. (4 player games) Each of those games another other players could have won if they had the same number of turns.

Also note so far in all six games the player that ended the game won the game. I don't think we had an ending score closer than 20 points between first and second place. The ability to finish seems almost too powerful. It might be nice if one has to question whether or not they should finish the game as soon as possible.

Just thoughts, at the end of the day, I still really like the game, and I'll need to try some of these ideas out.

Keep the ideas and discussion coming. Thanks guys.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
GAF Blizzard
msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I suggest trying more aggression again, especially against people early in the turn order. If you only have 1 battle in a 4-person game, that is 7 easy, instant stars that have gone unclaimed.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.